At 78, Michael Chapman goes from strength to strength, recording here with a new touring band that includes BJ Cole on pedal steel and the wonderful Bridget St John on backing vocals. They tour this spring. Hard to say yet whether this surpasses 2017's superb 50, which marked the fiftieth year of his career, but the album flows beautifully and has one advantage over its predecessor in that it fits onto one LP (you also get a download code) whereas the vinyl of 50 skipped three tracks. If you know his music, you'll know what to expect: gruff, gritty vocals, mesmerising guitar & a very Yorkshire view of the world: True North has a particularly rich sound, thanks to producer Steve Gunn. Great stuff.
When I saw Michael at Union Chapel, I got the impression that, after 50 years in the business, he would be hanging up his guitar- thankfully I was wrong. At the grand age of 78, he can still play some fabulous music, and this album is no exception. If you like Rainmaker and Fully Qualified Survivor, you'll love this.
Wonderful record up there as at least an equal with other older statement who produced records in older age such as Time Out of Mind and Leonard Cohen’s late albums. Reflective , often with a melancholy theme, beautiful played especially enhanced by Bridget St John and the wonderful cello. He certainly is a qualified survivor! Highly recommended.
This is a cracking album from Michael Chapman. I’ve been a fan since Rainmaker (50 years now); I’ve not always liked everything he has done but True North is one of his best, I think.
I reckon that Chapman was probably born sounding downbeat, world-weary and slightly indistinct, and he certainly hasn’t changed that. His voice is older now, but still has the evocative depth and delivery it always did. His guitar work is wonderful, of course, with a full, rich sound here and he understands the value of simplicity. There are times when, for me at least, he has taken this too far (Pachyderm springs to mind), but the balance here is perfect between melody and his guitar and other backing. So, for example we get the lovely instrumental Caddo Lake followed by the excellent Hell To Pay, a fine song with really classy lyrics.
This really is a very good album with no weaknesses and some very, very good stuff. Warmly recommended.